Durant pours in career-high 54 as Thunder beat Warriors

OKLAHOMA CITY — Friday’s meeting between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors didn’t come down to a buzzer-beater, but there were still plenty of fireworks.

Kevin Durant made sure of it.

Durant had a career-high 54 points and the Thunder defeated the Warriors 127-121 on Friday night.

"Some nights, I’ve got to put it up, I’ve got to score. Some nights, I’ve got to do other things. Tonight, they found me and I was able to hit a few shots," Durant said.

Durant, who made 10 of his first 11 shots and tallied 29 first-half points, finished 19-of-28 from the field and 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.


Barbosa re-ups with Suns for another 10 days

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Leandro Barbosa to a second 10-day contract.

Barbosa, who initially signed with the club on Jan. 8, has averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in four games.

The 31-year-old Brazilian spent the first seven seasons (2003-10) of his career with the Suns and captured the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging career highs of 18.1 points and 4.0 during the 2006-07 campaign.

Clemson’s Swinney rewarded with new 8-year contract

CLEMSON, S.C. — Coming off a second straight 11-win season, Clemson has rewarded head football coach Dabo Swinney with a new eight-year contract.

The Tigers’ third consecutive season with double-digit victories ended with a 40-35 triumph over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. Clemson finished ranked seventh in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the highest ranking in any final poll for the program since the Tigers won the national title in 1981.

"Dabo is one of the top coaches not only in the ACC but in the entire nation," Clemson director of athletics Dan Radakovich said in a statement Saturday. "His teams have succeeded on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We’re excited to have him lead our program for a long time into the future."

Swinney served as an assistant head coach and wide receivers coach before being named interim head coach after Tommy Bowden resigned during the 2008 season. He soon took over control on a full-time basis and has compiled a 51-23 record, including a 33-12 mark in ACC play.

"The future of Clemson University is extremely bright and the future of our football program is as well," Swinney said in a statement. "While we have accomplished many goals, we still have several out there to reach and we will continue to work to get there."

Former NFL safety Sharper jailed on rape charge

LOS ANGELES — The NFL Network has suspended analyst Darren Sharper indefinitely after he was arrested Friday in Los Angeles on suspicion of rape.

According to, the Los Angeles Police Department is investigating Sharper’s possible involvement in a pair of sexual assault cases, one which occurred in January and the other back in October. The 14-year NFL veteran was released Friday on $200,000 bail.

"Darren has been suspended without pay until further notice, effective immediately," NFL Network said in a statement released to "Regarding the charges, as a matter of policy, we don’t comment on pending legal action."

Sharper earned five Pro Bowl citations and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2009 before his retirement following the 2010 season. The 38-year-old played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans and was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

He began working with the NFL Network in 2012.


Nadal, Federer, Murray continue roll in Melbourne

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray continued to steamroll the opposition Saturday in the men’s draw at the Australian Open.

The former Grand Slam champions have yet to drop a set through the first three rounds and each had little trouble Saturday.

Nadal dropped a mere six games in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 rout of Frenchman Gael Monfils, while Federer lost only seven games in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 pounding of Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. Murray, meanwhile, battled through a first-set tiebreaker before cruising the rest of the way in a 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

Azarenka cruises; Sharapova, Radwanska advance at Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka rolled to an easy third-round win Saturday at the Australian Open, while Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska also advanced.

Azarenka needed exactly one hour in a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Austrian Yvonne Meusburger to start the night session at Laver Arena. Sharapova had a much easier time earlier in the day with cooler conditions and took full advantage in 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) win over Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, while Radwanska had to rally for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Italian Flavia Pennetta, who did not play the 2013 Australian Open due to a wrist injury, advanced to the quarterfinals.

The 28th-seeded Pennetta upended No. 9 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 Sunday to make it to the round-of-8 in Melbourne. This is Pennetta’s first quarterfinal appearance at the Aussie Open, but her second straight such showing in a Grand Slam tournament. Pennetta was ousted by Victoria Azarenka at the 2013 US Open semifinals.